At the beginning of September, the weather still is in high summer mode. Yesterday was nearly 90F with high humidity and today won’t be much cooler. The garden plants are taking full advantage of these few remaining warm days, ripening their fruits and grains. Today I will pick the wax beans and hope to get enough for dinner. I leave the plants in the ground as long as they want to blossom. They still produce some, just not the abundance of their main crop.
The tomatoes are producing well. I harvest them before they are completely ripe to stay ahead of rodent varmints that eat holes in the juicy red fruit. Most of the foliage has disappeared from the tomatoes, I suspect hornworms have been at work. They can strip the leaves overnight. With the fruit so close to maturity, the foliage is not that important any more.
I counted six big pumpkins ripening! Plenty to fill our Halloween needs. The largest pumpkin must weigh about 15-20 lbs and is just starting to get an orange cast to the skin. As temperatures cool the orange will spread quickly.
There are also winter squash, an acorn variety, and Jack-Be-Little miniature pumpkins coming along. It was a slow year for squash so there are less than usual. I planted seeds on the manure pile from a mutant squash that volunteered last year. It was a cross of a pumpkin and summer squash. Some fruit is visible, growing quickly. Will have to wait and see what is produced.
The Indian corn is loaded with large ears thanks to hot and humid days throughout much of July and August. It looks to be a good harvest. I will cut the corn in mid-September as soon as the ears ripen fully.
I am happy to report three peppers grew! One has already been consumed–it was delicious. This one is getting large and there is one more very small pepper coming along. Next year I will grow peppers differently. They will be set closer together, better mulched and well watered during hot spells.
The Jerusalem artichokes make a gorgeous display, all covered in yellow blossoms. Here the horses graze the lawn in the background. I am planning to move the artichokes from the garden. They are too invasive and require excessive space.
From their humble beginnings as a few bare roots and stems pulled from an abandoned strip of grass near a stop sign in Waterville, these plants have become a major success story. They will be established in an area that allows for their aggressive spreading. I am convinced the plants emit chemicals into the soil that retard the growth of other plants. Carrots growing within two feet of the artichokes are struggling. This plant will hold it’s own against grass and weeds in a different part of the farm.
Another bright yellow, tall flowering plant, the sunflowers bloom in profusion. They are visible in the background of the first photo. Little birds visit the plants all day. They clean the black oil seeds from the flower heads as quickly as they form. The birds need this rich nutrition to get in shape for their long flight to warmer winter quarters.
Later today I will pick all the ripe or near ripe tomatoes and perhaps clip a few lovely zinna flowers for decorating the table.